As we submerge into the depths of winter, it’s only natural that we look for some warm, cosy comfort, and what’s better than snuggling up in a big blanket with some hot tea and a variety of interesting queer books?
Not sure where to start? Well we’ve go you covered! Check out this list of must-read queer books and pick your favourite for the holiday season.
Diary of an Activist by Orla Egan
We start our list off with an Irish release. Diary of an Activist is a social activism memoir journeying through all sorts of experiences including feminist and queer activism, lesbian parties, vegetarianism and much more. Featuring notable Irish locations such as Loafer’s Bar in Cork and beautiful illustrations by Megan Luddy O’Leary the book provides a unique insight into activism in Ireland in an era before mobile phones, computers and social media. We even had the opportunity to learn more about the book by talking to Egan herself, when she said that the book is “more personal, and exposing than other work I have created.” Interested? The book is available to order here.
Loose Lips: A Gay Sea Odyssey by Joseph Brennan
Looking for a saucy gay erotica to keep you hot this winter? Loose Lips could be the book for you. Written by an Australian academic who is best known for his scholarship on male sex, gay pornography and queerbaiting, the book tells the story of Olli Turner, a Clydebank dockyards sexual adventurer who decides to stow himself away on the world’s largest ocean liner RMS Queen Elizabeth. What he expected to be a short coastal voyage turns out to be a daring race across the Atlantic in the 1940s where he experiences his sexual awakening. For those looking for a book that’s poetically written while still maintaining a sharpness of male sexuality that does not shy away from the taboo, this is the one for you.
Irish Women’s Speeches (Volume 2) by Sonja Tiernan
Following the success of the first book in the series, Sonja Tiernan’s new release allows us to learn even more about some fascinating women in Irish history. The book is a large compilation of speeches from renowned authors, journalists, actors, artists and women who have influenced arts and culture greatly. There are many influential speeches to find in this volume including but not limited to journalist Norah Dacre Fox who became a key member of the suffragette movement in England and was imprisoned for the cause, Charlotte Stoker who is said to greatly inspire the literature of her son Bram Stoker, and Edna O’Brien, an author who pushed back her condemnation by the Catholic Church and suppression by the Irish censorship board to create one of Ireland’s greatest classics Trilogy The Country Girls. The book is full to the brim of impactful women and is a great way to learn about Irish women’s history this winter.
Opulent Syntax: Irish Speculative Fiction by Don Duncan and Dave Ring
This book is a plethora of stories from a variety of authors, including queer contributors, that all link their stories and poems back to Ireland. The collection is promised to “defy existence and expectations” with narrations “of what nearly was, what may be and what could come to be.” There is almost a story for each county of Ireland, with hints of bog bodies in Kerry, near-future capitalist hell in Dublin, past and future arm-wrestling for prominence in Antrim, and much more. The book is releasing all across Ireland on December 13, so snag a copy in stores or online and enjoy the mysteries on every page.
The Gay Bible by Sinead Huggins-Young
Want a complete guide to queer terminology? The Gay Bible is here to educate you and answer all of your burning questions. The publication includes concise terminology and various slurs while explaining to readers what to say and what not to say. As said in the book’s description, “gay and queer terms can be difficult to navigate when it seems new terms are appearing every other day… so strap in and strap on for the ride of your life.” This is definitely one of our top picks of queer books to read this winter, so find a copy for yourself or perhaps even gift it to a loved one that has some catching up to do on queer terminology this Christmas.
Sexual/Liberation by Michael Cronin
This book by Michael Cronin talks about all of the paradoxes of sexual freedom in contemporary neoliberal Ireland inviting readers “to imagine a revolutionary form of sexual liberation.” Cronin focuses on images of gay men, male bodies and male intimacy that he sources from places like Leo Varadkar’s media profile, Irish Queer Archives and even artistic commemorations of Declan Flynn and Roger Casement while encouraging the reader to re-think the political as sexual, “to reflect on how our political perspectives are shaped by desires, needs, vulnerabilities and hopes.” If this sounds like your cup of tea, the book is available to order online.
A Short History of Queer Women by Kirsty Loehr
Concluding our list of queer books to read this winter, we have to tell you about Kirsty Loehr’s gem. The author’s writing style is praised by many readers and fans for being gripping and witty as she looks back on women-loving-women throughout history. “No, they weren’t ‘just friends’!” screams the blurb on the back of the novel as the topic of historians assuming two women couldn’t be anything more than friends is ever present throughout. Loehr touches on multiple lesbian relationships seen in the history books, such as the epic story of pirates Mary Read and Anne Bonny. Want an educational read while having a laugh? Then order A Short History of Queer Women online!
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